I know I’m late to the party as it comes to watching “The Help,” however my wife and I just saw it last night. Honestly, I’m not sure how a couple of crazy months went by without us meandering into the theater to see a move about race, justice and the light at the end of the tunnel.
I was actually surprised that the movie was still showing at the theaters, considering how long ago it was released. I shared my surprise with the guy at the AMC Theater ticket counter and he said this, “We have lots of old people that still buy tickets.” My response, “Are you saying that I’m old?” His response, “No I mean like really old people in wheelchairs and with canes and walkers.” The funny thing is we had to wait on an old lady as her daughter helped her gingerly walk up the stairs in the theater.
I have mentioned in my Social Media streams that I’m going to share my thoughts about the movie and I generally do a quick review of movies. For instance here is one that I did on The Karate Kid when it came out.
I’m not going to do a typical review, however I will share my thoughts. The help was real and captured the realities of racism in a way that is palatable for moviegoers. Additionally, it provoked plenty of emotions with the realities of decisions people made and thoughts that they had because of pure ignorance. I think one of the undertones that were really sad and true is that ignorance knows no bounds and will even try to disguise itself as knowledge, wisdom and intellect. The scenes attributed to the women’s group trying to get “The Help Sanitation Initiative” aka separate but equal restroom legislation passed.
Let me say this about “The Help.” I love that it reminds us of the past and how ignorant people were and how they tried to justify their ignorance. It reminds me somewhat of where the church is today; we make lots of excuses for a separate but equal church and disguise the ignorance of it with preference, style, location excuses and attempt to justify them as knowledge, wisdom and intellect.
In my book Church Diversity – Sunday The Most Segregated Day Of The Week, I point out the realities of today’s church being the modern day separate but equal. Many Christian Leaders land Christians in general laugh, downplay and even minimize the fact that 93% of the churches in America are racially segregated. Just like these well-intentioned ladies in the movie “The Help” attempted to justify their ignorant thinking.
The help taught us what can happen with courage and helped us to redefine the word. Courage – Daring to do what is right in spite of the weakness in our flesh. Nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had the courage to address the sad fact that “at the 11 o’clock hour on Sunday morning when stand to sing we stand in the most segregated hour in America.” Unfortunately, that’s till true today. Another thing that we learned from “The Help” is the fact that courage sometimes skips a generation.
Courage in the church as it relates to issues of race an ethnicity appears to have skipped many generations. Fortunately there are more and more leaders having the courage to help us see every nation, tribe and tongue worshiping together… a little Heaven on earth in the church. I appreciate the work of those in this generation who have been fighting the good fight: Dr. Michael Emmerson, Efrem Smith, Mark DeYmaz, Christian Smith, Dr. Tony Evans, Bill Hybels and recently John Piper. I could list countless other pastors and leaders, who are demonstrating the courage to address this issue for the Body Of Christ.
John Piper’s addition to the Church Diversity or “Church Help” discussion is well received. Piper has an E.F. Hutton principal in his favor (when he talks, people listen). This is true for thousands upon thousands of Christian Leaders and Christians in general. In John Piper’s new book Blood Lines, he argues from specific biblical texts that the only solution powerful enough to overcome racial strife and bring about racial reconciliation and harmony is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through His blood, Jesus has demolished the dividing wall that separates humanity along racial lines and has brought all ethnicities together as brothers and sisters into one body the church. Piper does not end there, he shepherds readers through the various implications of gospel thinking in relation to race and ethnicity.
I’ll close with this. Many of us watched “The Help,” which was a true depiction of 50 years ago, and ask the question, “How in the world could they be so ignorant?” The real question is 50 years from now, when people watch a movie titled, “The Church,” which depicts the separate but equal nature of the church… What question will they ask? “How in the world could they be so [fill in the blank]?”
Courage skips a generation… Don’t let that generation be ours.
“The local church is the hope of the world and it’s future primarily rests on the hands of it’s leaders.” ~Bill Hybels
The Help, The Hope & The Healer.
Change begins with a whisper… what are you whispering?
Share your thoughts on The Help, The Church and The Future.